Trustees approve appointments, academic programs

July 12, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue University Board of Trustees on Tuesday (July 12) approved a named professorship and three degree programs, including a master's degree in building construction management; a master's degree in modeling, simulation and visualization at Purdue University Calumet; and a bachelor's degree in neuroscience at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Trustees also ratified the appointments of the dean of international programs and vice president of public affairs.

Agbai "George" Agwu Nnanna

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Trustees approved the appointment of Agbai "George" Agwu Nnanna (pronounced Ag-Bye Ag-Woo NaNa) to the Francis and Elsie Meyer Professorship for Purdue Calumet's Water Institute, which Nnanna directs. He also is a professor of mechanical engineering and holds a courtesy professor appointment in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue's West Lafayette campus.

He has served as chair of a technical committee on emerging technologies, electronics and photonics packaging division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and in 2009 was editor of the ASME newsletter. In 2011 he received the Fulbright specialist award and in 2010 he received Purdue's Seed for Success Award. He has more than 60 technical publications in journals and conference proceedings and a pending U.S. patent on the opto-chemical sensor.

Before coming to Purdue Calumet in 2002 as an assistant professor, Nnanna was coordinator of the engineering summer camp program at the University of Texas and a part-time instructor in mathematics at Mountain View College in Dallas.

He received his bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University and his master's and doctorate from the University of Texas at Arlington.

The new master's degree in building construction management will be housed in the College of Technology. The degree program will prepare students to be leaders in the construction industry and produce research to help solve problems in that industry, said Timothy D. Sands, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.

"The demand for construction managers is projected to increase by 16 to 18 percent between 2004 and 2016 in both Indiana and the nation," said Sands, who also is Purdue's Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering. "The average starting salary for December 2008 building construction management graduates with a bachelor's degree was $52,750. The anticipated starting salary for building construction management graduates with a master's degree is expected to be substantially higher."

The master's degree in modeling, simulation and visualization at Purdue Calumet is designed to meet growing demand in the field, Sands said. Advanced modeling, simulation and visualization technologies are used to understand sophisticated concepts and develop problem-solving skills as well as design and optimize complex systems and processes.

Neuroscience is a rapidly advancing field that addresses the structure and function of the nervous system, focusing on the intersection between the brain and behavior, Sands said. He said students in the neuroscience bachelor's degree program at IUPUI would be able to pursue concentrations in behavioral or cellular/molecular neuroscience.

Sands said there is a high demand for professionals with neuroscience knowledge and skills for careers in medicine, research, health-related sciences and biotechnology.

All three degrees are scheduled to begin this fall and are subject to approval by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

In other business, trustees ratified the appointment of Michael A. Brzezinski as dean of international programs. Brzezinski had been serving as interim dean in the area, which oversees programs related to study abroad, international students and scholars, and partnerships with international universities. Since coming to Purdue in 1993, Brzezinski has served as both associate and assistant dean for International Programs, as well as director of International Students and Scholars and interim director of Programs for Study Abroad. He also holds a courtesy assistant professor appointment in the Department of Educational Studies.

Trustees also approved the appointment of Julie K. Griffith as vice president for public affairs. Griffith, whose appointment was previously announced, was vice president for government affairs and foundation relations at Duke Energy. Her appointment is part of a reorganization that brings government, community relations and economic development efforts into one office.

Writers:    Greg McClure, 765-496-9711,

                    Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Sources:   Timothy Sands, 765-494-9709,

                    Agbai "George" Agwu Nnanna, 219-989-2071,

                    Michael A. Brzezinski, 765-494-9399,

                    Julie K. Griffith, 765-494-6838,